It is said one can tell a lot about a person by his or her environment. With one look at Bryan DePoy’s office — at the streamlined walls arranged with carefully selected pieces of art and the organized desk nestled in the corner — it is clear that he is a man of authority. But it is clear that DePoy is also a man who loves the arts, for as soon as they were mentioned, his eyes lit up. He began talking not only about his career in the creative field, but the emotions that went with them in great detail.
DePoy, the dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communication, is an avid trumpeter who grew up in a small rural town outside of Chicago. It was a place where “most people were farmers, and most people never left.” He said that growing up in this environment helped morph him into the person he is today.
“Growing up in that little farm town gives you a different kind of work ethic,” DePoy said. “It’s where you wake up, you work and you don’t stop working until you get the job done. Even though I’m nowhere close to a farmer, that set of values has always stuck with me.”
DePoy said his country work ethic kicked into high gear the first time he ever picked up a trumpet.
“I remember joining band … and we had to choose our instrument. I grabbed the trumpet and made the loudest, most God awful sound … and I loved it,” DePoy said. “After that day, I’d go home and practice for hours on end. I couldn’t get enough. There was something about it, and to this day, I can’t put my finger on it. … It’s just how the music makes me feel.”
DePoy took his passion for trumpet further after finishing high school. DePoy said that he knew he wanted to pursue trumpet through college and that his family and community were extremely supportive of his goals.
With a college degree in hand for trumpet performance, DePoy set off across the country in pursuit of spreading the love of music. After hopping from school to school, he found a love for teaching at Southern Louisiana University, right outside of New Orleans.
“I was there when Hurricane Katrina hit and so were my students. I was teaching quite a few then, and most of them lost everything,” DePoy said. “Not one single student stopped coming to my classes. They channeled all their emotion into their music. Seeing that kind of passion ignites something within you. It was remarkable.”
DePoy’s dream of advancing the arts and fueling the creative dreams of others lead him to administrative careers. He accepted his first administrative position at Southern Louisiana University and decided that moving higher up in ranks would increase his chances of being able to change the lives of students in the arts for the better.
DePoy chose to come to Youngstown State University and become the dean of the College of Creative Arts and Administration because he felt that there was a lot of promise in the university.
“YSU was a community on the rise, one that could be greatly impacted by the arts,” he said. “This city is on the rise. There are so many talented students here in our program. If Youngstown continues to grow, it could be a potential hub for arts and entertainment.”
DePoy also said he came to YSU because it is a city of unlimited potential and unbelievable talent. He said that coming to YSU was one of the best decisions he has made, for he has been able to directly fund students’ personal passions from his dean position.
“In this position, I can make things happen,” he said. “I can take the ideas that myself and others think up and try to place them into action. It’s a difficult process sometimes, but it all pays off when an idea turns into a plan.”
DePoy also said he has a strong feeling that Youngstown is a blossoming city filled with the potential to be a hub bustling with arts and entertainment of all kinds. He said he wished to pursue the promotion and awareness of the arts, and Youngstown was the perfect place to do so. He compared it to the up and coming bustle of New Orleans.
“What many people don’t understand is that the arts play an important role in the life of a city. Youngstown, to my knowledge, is on the rise. It will continue to rise, too, if the right kind of influence is put in, good things will come out,” DePoy said. “The arts are vital in a place like this. The talent is here, the funding is here — Youngstown is on its way. I have faith that the city is becoming a more cultured place every day.”